A former steel maker finds a new career making ice for Olympians

China 24

A former steel maker finds a new career making ice for Olympians

In 2022, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics.

The athletes are usually the ones who enjoy the spotlight. But plenty of others work behind the scenes.

CGTN’s Frances Kuo introduces us to one man who’s helping to make the Games a success.

It’s practice time and Olympic athletes are hard at work at the Shougang ice sports training center in western Beijing.

So is Liu Boqiang.

Liu may not be in the spotlight, but he has a big role to play.

He’s an ice maker at the sports center.

But it’s not just any facility – it’s the training ground for Chinese athletes heading to the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

Liu is quite literally paving the path for these athletes from skaters to curlers.

“Curling ice is not flat and smooth,” said Liu.  “In fact, there are small ‘pebbles’ atop to reduce the friction. After a game ends, we would first use the ice resurfacer to level the surface and then evenly spray small droplets on the ice. After they freeze up, we use the ice resurfacer again to make the pebbles at the same height. The difficulty is to spray the water as evenly as possible. Actually, the trick is about the frequency.”

Liu has only been doing this since June.

“The key word of 2018, for me, is ‘transformation,’” said Liu.

For decades, Liu worked in manufacturing.

But his old workshop at the Shougang Industrial Park shut down and later turned into the training center for the Chinese national teams in curling, short track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey.  

“If it hadn’t been for the Winter Olympics and Shougang hadn’t undergone the transition, I wouldn’t have had such a unique opportunity to take this position,” said Liu.

He said it’s been a thrilling transition from fire to ice and has given him the chance to enjoy his own golden moment.

“From a steel maker at Shougang, I’m now an ice maker,” said Liu.  “It’s a huge crossover.  I’d say it is the most fulfilling year of my life. My father-in-law said it’s like I won the lottery.”

Paul Jun Dong gives a preview of the 2022 Beijing Olympics

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes talks with Paul Jun Dong, co-founder and sports industry observer of Ei China Limited, about the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics.